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The Tiger Who Came to Tea celebrated at Blickling Estate

PUBLISHED: 14:10 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 16 January 2019

Taking Tea with the Tiger at Blickling Estate. Picture: National Trust

Taking Tea with the Tiger at Blickling Estate. Picture: National Trust

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An exhibition on the life and work of The Tiger Who Came to Tea author and illustrator Judith Kerr has opened at the National Trust’s Blickling Estate.

The event, which is aimed at younger visitors, celebrates her much-loved classic, which was her first picture book, and features copies of her original illustrations.

It began as a bedtime story for her children and was published in 1968. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 with a special exhibition that has been touring the country and now arrives in Norfolk.

Judith Kerr said: “I first told this story to my small daughter long ago. She was rather critical of my other stories but used to say, ‘Talk the tiger!’ So, when she and her brother were both at school and I had more time, I thought I would make it into a picture book – and much to my amazement, here it still is 50 years later.”

Alongside copies of original artwork, notes and sketches, children will be able to find tigers hidden around the house, before stepping into Sophie’s kitchen to have tea with a life-size tiger.

Tiger-themed storytelling sessions will be held on Wednesdays and on a variety of weekend dates. These are bookable online in advance via the website, or just turn up on the day.

For older ones, there will be the chance to explore Judith’s childhood through a film on her experiences of having to escape Germany during the war, how it felt to be a refugee in Switzerland, then France, before finally settling in London in 1936.

Jo Bosch, visitor experience manager, said: “We’re really excited about having the Tiger with us at Blickling. It’s a fabulous opportunity to have something specifically aimed at our younger visitors during the colder months, but with a link through to the vital conservation work that’s needed in our own Long Gallery Library which houses over 12,500 volumes.”

Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, is custodian of Judith Kerr’s archive and the curator of the exhibition, which runs daily until Sunday, March 3, from 11am until 3.30pm.

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